Parking Lot Safety

Parking lots can be as dangerous as the road. The other day we were walking back to our car, and we were doing everything "right". Staying to the side, with our heads up. And yet we were almost hit. My daughter was walking a few feet ahead of us, not running by any means, and an SUV began backing up and came within inches before I snatched her out of the way. The driver caught sight of my shocked and crying child when she was about halfway out of the spot, and her expression was horrified. She rolled down the window and pleaded for forgiveness - she hadn't seen her in the rearview mirror and thought the coast was clear. It was a miss, both my daughter and the driver were shaken by the close call, and we were all fine. But it got me thinking.

 

1.      Backup cameras are great and in many cases will alert you if someone or something is behind you. But they, like everything else, are fallible.

2.      Small kids are hard to see from a tall SUV. I've read that a 3'6" child needs to be TWENTY-THREE feet behind these cars before they will show up in a rearview mirror. A child should not be leading a group through the parking lot.

3.      Kids like to run and like their independence. However, a parking lot is not the place to give it to them. Cars are moving in from every direction, some in reverse, and it's not predictable. Our rule is that everyone stays together in the parking lot. Most of the time, even though my kids are mid-elementary aged, we still hold hands. Kids are impulsive, and may dart toward something they see on the ground even when they know the rules.

4.      Teach kids to stay alert in parking lots - have them try to spot all the moving wheels and taillights. If I make it into a game, my kids are always willing to compete! This took my girls from being easily distracted to being laser focused!

5.      Yes, cars are supposed to stop for crosswalks. But there are plenty of grownups who break the rules. EVEN IF you think you're right to start crossing and the car will stop, you WAIT for the car to actually stop before you cross.

We can't keep our kids in a bubble, but we can certainly tell them when to look out!
; ;